EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS:
NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND REGIONAL ARRANGEMENTS
Note verbale dated 24 March 2005 from the Permanent Mission of Egypt to
the United Nations Office and Other Organizations at Geneva addressed to
the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
The Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva presents its compliments to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and has the honour to enclose as annexes hereto the final report, the Cairo Declaration and the recommendations of the Symposium of the Regional Conference on National Human Rights Institutions in the Arab World held in Cairo from 6 to 8 March 2005.
The Permanent Mission would like to convey to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the request of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights to circulate the above-mentioned annexes* as a document of the Commission in accordance with the decision adopted by the Commission at its fifty-seventh session (E/2001/23-E/CN.4/2001/167, para. 22).
* Reproduced in the annexes as received, in the language of submission and in English only.
Recommendations of the Symposium of the Regional Conference
on National Human Rights Institutions in the Arab World
(6-8 March 2005)
In light of the discussions which took place in the symposium and the working groups, the participants have made the following recommendations:
1. Call upon Arab States which have not already done so to ratify international human rights instruments and to complete the procedures for the ratification of the Arab Charter on Human Rights and the establishment of a mechanism for its implementation.
2. Invite Arab States which have not already done so to establish national human rights mechanisms, in conformity with United Nations General Assembly resolution 46/124 of 17 December 1991.
3. Call upon Arab States to respect the independence of national human rights institutions and to enable them to discharge their functions in accordance with the laws by which they were established, and call upon these institutions to bring their statutes and rules of procedure into line with the aforementioned General Assembly resolution in order to guarantee pluralism and the representation of all sectors of society, including the participation of women.
4. Stress the need to involve national human rights institutions in the formulation of plans of action outlining the actions and priorities which the State can pursue to strengthen human rights protection and respect for human rights.
5. Stress the need to create adequate frameworks to strengthen and develop ongoing and effective coordination between national human rights institutions and NGOs on the basis of shared objectives.
6. Support the recommendations made by the Arab Standing Committee on Human Rights at its nineteenth session held in Cairo from 7 to 9 February 2005, particularly with regard to human rights education and related inter-Arab conventions; include a fixed item on human rights in the agenda of the Council of the League of Arab States (at the level of the Summit or the ministerial meeting); and stress the need to boost the role of the Arab Standing Committee on Human Rights.
7. Welcome the initiative by which the State of Qatar has offered to host a United Nations human rights centre for South-West Asia and the Arab region, and invite national human rights institutions and other parties to cooperate with the centre once it is established.
8. Commend the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Development Programme for the work that they have done in Arab countries and invite them to intensify their activities in the region, including by lending support to the activities and programmes of national human rights institutions.
9. Allow national human rights institutions to research and investigate allegations about human rights violations on the basis of the complaints which they receive or at their own initiative.
10. Support the role of national human rights institutions in providing advice and making recommendations to State authorities and bodies about all matters relating to political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights.
11. Invite Arab national human rights institutions to step up cooperation with the United Nations treaty bodies, the Commission on Human Rights and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
12. Invite Arab national, and international, human rights institutions to give priority to the realization of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Palestinian people and to the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in accordance with human rights conventions and United Nations resolutions, and to call for the release of the prisoners being held in Israeli jails.
13. Invite Arab national, and international, human rights institutions to show solidarity with the Iraqi people by opposing any violations of their human rights.
14. Invite Arab States to formulate a strategy to deal with all laws and practices that incite hatred or discrimination, including against Arabs and Muslims.
15. Stress the need for national human rights institutions to comply with all international human rights standards and to respect religious, historical and cultural norms, values and principles.
16. Invite the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to help organize periodic meetings like this symposium with a view to promoting human rights in the Arab world and strengthening ties among national institutions, and welcome the proposal made by Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Chairman of the National Council for Human Rights in the Arab Republic of Egypt, for the holding of a conference on the dissemination of a human rights culture to be hosted by a national human rights institution in the Arab region.
The participants also decided to submit the text of the Cairo Declaration and the symposium’s recommendations to the Arab Summit in Algiers in the hope that they will capture the attention of Arab leaders. They also asked for the Declaration, the recommendations and the final report to be distributed more widely and requested that the host State submit them for circulation as an official document of the Commission on Human Rights at its sixty-first session.